Sunday, September 27, 2009

Working in too-short ends: a classic dressmaker's trick, handy for knitters

Is there a knitter anywhere who has not had to work in a too-short end? The fix often smells faintly of desperation such as a dot of glue, or spells a lot of hard work, such as undoing the knitting to lengthen the end. Here is a classic dressmaking technique which may save the day next time you're faced with an end too short to work in by conventional means.

In illustration 1, there are two ends waiting to be worked in: one green and one pink. The green end is long enough to work in by the ordinary "skimming in" method, so first we'll see how that works. Then we'll look at the variation on this method which is a clever dressmaker's trick to work in the very short pink end.

Illustration 2 shows threading the green end through the eye of the needle.

Illustration 3: Pierce the needle through one or two plies of each underlying stitch, as shown.

Illustration 4: Draw the needle up all the way, which draws the end through the piercings you have made. Once the yarn is all drawn through, remove the needle from the yarn end by working the end out of the needle's eye. This leaves the yarn "skimmed in" to the back of the work. (For more information about the skimming-in method, click here.)

With the too-short end, this simple technique will not work, because the end to be worked in is shorter than the sewing needle. So, as shown in Illustration 5, if the yarn cannot be brought to the needle, the needle must be brought to the yarn. This is done by using the unthreaded needle to pierce through one or two plies of several stitches, as shown.

Illustration 6: Stop the needle when the eye is just opposite the too-short end. Without moving the needle, use some form of sewing ingenuity or employ some tiny tools such as a tiny crochet hook, or a needle-threading hook, or a wire threader for hand sewing to draw the too-short end through the eye of the needle.

Once the needle is threaded, draw up the needle, and keep drawing it up. As the needle travels through the fabric, the too-short end be drawn out of the eye, and will come off in the fabric.In other words, the needle will come out naked, but along the way, the too-short end will have been worked in to its fullest possible length, and illustration 7 shows the finished result.

One final note and two final links: The sort of needle to use for this job is a sharp pointed needle, and this is because you want to pierce through the underlying yarn. For more info about the two different types of sewing needles, click here. And, just in case you missed the link above for more information about the "skimming in" technique, click here.

You have been reading TECHknitting on: "working in short ends in knitting"